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London rents lowest they’ve been since 2014

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We all know the pandemic has been tough on the UK rental market. Almost 2 years on, we’re still seeing the effect on rents.

The decrease in rental demand in London in 2020, due to people leaving the city and the introduction of WFH, suggested people were moving out of the city for good. No more long commutes or expensive Pret lunches - remote working became the norm and people were able to enjoy a slower paced life out of the city with more space. The London market still hasn’t recovered, with London’s average room rent in 2021 lowest it’s been since 2014, at £721 pm, down by 6% from 2019.

Here's how that looks:

  • 2021 - £721
  • 2020 - £733
  • 2019 - £766
  • 2018 - £745
  • 2017 - £731
  • 2016 - £741
  • 2015 - £737
  • 2014 - £687

The only other UK region to see rents fall over the two year period was the West Midlands, where rents fell slightly (from £435 in 2019 to £433 in 2021).

The rest of the UK fared better

However, this isn’t the case for the rest of the UK. Rents have gone up in 2021 in almost every UK city, with the market continuing to boom post-pandemic. The average UK room rent saw no change from 2020 to 2021 - but with London excluded, UK rents were up 5%. In terms of the biggest towns and cities, the following all saw rents increase by 5% or more over the course of the pandemic:

Town/City 2021
average
% change
(2y)
Glasgow £595 24%
Peterborough £472 11%
Belfast £398 10%
Nottingham £461 9%
Bristol £562 8%
Blackpool £405 8%
Dundee £435 7%
Plymouth £434 7%
Northampton £476 7%
Leeds £450 7%
Portsmouth £487 7%
Leicester £445 6%
Hull £394 6%
Bradford £362 6%
Swansea £417 6%
York £529 6%
Cardiff £460 6%
Wolverhampton £394 6%
Poole £522 5%
Milton Keynes £532 5%
Southend-On-Sea £531 5%
Sunderland £353 5%
Gloucester £440 5%
Norwich £469 5%
Bolton £409 5%
Sheffield £414 5%
Manchester £487 5%

These were the only major cities where rents fell over two years:
Town/City 2021
average
% change
(2y)
Birmingham £404 -8%
London £721 -6%
Edinburgh £557 -5%
Telford £404 -2%
Aberdeen £406 -2%

Despite London’s average room rent at its lowest since 2014, we saw things going up towards the end of 2021. It’s also promising to see rents in UK cities at a stable level or on the up.

We expect the market to pick up considerably in 2022, with life looking to return to something like what we knew pre-pandemic this year. Whether that means London rents back at pre-covid levels or not remains to be seen. Watch this space!

Want an extra entry into Live Rent Free? The answer to the question below is your coupon for an extra entry into next month’s prize draw – click the button below and enter it in the box. Be quick though, the code expires at 11:45pm on Sunday 30th January. Good luck!
Q: London rents are at the lowest they’ve been since what year? ‘____‘?

Enter Live Rent Free with your extra entry!

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